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UK & Ireland See 'Drastic Spike' in APT Attacks

The report found that an average of over 70 new infections occurred within enterprises daily
The report found that an average of over 70 new infections occurred within enterprises daily

That’s the word from FireEye’s Regional Advanced Threat Report for the United Kingdom and Ireland (UKI). Detailing malicious activities captured by the FireEye Security Platform throughout 2013, the report found that an average of over 70 new infections occurred within enterprises daily. Every day in the last quarter of 2013, more than 130 unique infections of enterprises were identified, with 45% of the year’s infections occurring during this timeframe.

The report also found that the federal government was the most-targeted victim, followed by energy/utilities/petroleum refining, financial services and higher education. But, the financial services sector is the most impacted, followed by telecom, energy, healthcare and higher ed.

In all, the growth of the number of unique infections is over a factor of three between January and December 2013.

“With financial and telecommunications operations being key drivers of the United Kingdom’s and Ireland’s markets, advanced threat actors have many high-value targets to go after in both countries,” said Paul Davis, vice president for Europe at FireEye, in a statement. “Combine this with the proliferation of high-tech across all industries and it becomes clear as to why we have seen such a drastic spike in attacks since the beginning of 2013.”

When it comes to attack tactics, the APT malware families Backdoor.LV, Taidoor and PingBed accounted for 37% of the APT attacks carried out in the UK and Ireland in 2013.

“For years, we have been stating that more than 95% of businesses unknowingly host compromised PC’s within their corporate networks,” said Paul Jackson, FireEye’s regional sales director for UKI, in the report. “During our assessment, we have identified all types of threat actors compromising our customers’ networks: nation state, cyber criminals, activists and amateurs alike. Well-funded threat actors have adjusted their techniques from generic, opportunistic and scattershot to targeted, resilient and evasive.”

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